It’s time for L.V. Rogers students to learn about a new washroom symbol, because they’re going to be seeing it every day.
Starting soon, when students arrive for class on their high school’s top floor, the first washroom they see will feature a circle with three varied gender symbols pointing in different directions — that marks it as available for anyone, regardless of gender or sexuality.
“We found this symbol on the Internet when we were browsing for ideas,” L.V. Rogers Grade 12 student Amelia Martzke told the Star, after receiving news the school board approved her Global Perspectives class’ plan to convert the signage.
“In some ways it represents unification of all genders, because they’re all connected to the circle. There’s female and male, then there’s the mix that represents transgendered and gender-neutral people.”
A safe environment for everyone
Grade 11 student Jasmine Faulkner got involved in the campaign to change the signage on the private washroom because she wants everyone to feel like they have a safe, private single-person space where they can do “what we all have to do.”
“Especially here in Nelson where there’s so many people who don’t identify with set gender norms, I think this is so important,” she said.
She hopes it will “spark conversation.”
“Some people might not know it’s a thing or believe it’s a thing. And that means we have an opportunity to talk to them about it and educate them.”
She noted in the larger world people are still forced to identify as either male or female, whether it’s at the doctor’s office or while applying for a passport.
Faulkner and Martzke would love to see more businesses and institutions in the area acknowledging the need for gender-neutral bathrooms.
“We want to create a safe environment for anyone and everyone, no matter who they are,” said Faulkner.
Already Mount Sentinel student Petra Hartley has started a campaign to introduce one at her high school, and the girls figure it’s only a matter of time before more surface.
Superintendent gives thumbs up
Superintendent Jeff Jones visited L.V. Rogers on Jan. 15 to hear the girls’ plans.
“We recognize that last year the board approved a new sexual orientation and gender identity policy,” he said, noting this initiative falls squarely within the aims articulated therein.
“It’s important for us to move forward with these types of requests, and we anticipate we’ll be receiving more of them. This was a great opportunity because at L.V. Rogers no renovation was required.”
“I commend the students for bringing this request to the forefront. It seems like a natural progression for our community, in recognition of the acceptance that we have for all people in our school district and how we embrace them.”